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  • Voices from the Thai Countryside : "The Necklace" and Other Stories by Samruam Singh
    by Singh, Samruam

    Samruam Singh (1949-1996) was a teacher, writer, and activist. He published most
    of the stories in this collection in the progressive weekly Jaturat , during the
    interlude between the ousting of the nation's military government in 1973 and
    the return of military rule in 1976. Katherine A. Bowie, professor of
    anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the author of Rituals of
    National Loyalty: An Anthropology of the State and the Village Scout Movement in
    Thailand .
    Voices from the Thai Countryside :
  • The Same . . . Only Different
    by Souden, Don

    The past comes alive with deadly force when Dan Fowler returns to the
    Connecticut town where he grew up. He is quickly thrust into the mysterious
    shooting of a young soldier by a beautiful woman in the waning days of World War
    II. The shooting had been swept swiftly under a rug, but Dan's new employer
    thinks it was cold-blooded murder. And, as Dan starts sifting through the
    remaining evidence, he begins to smell the fishy stench of a massive cover-up.
    Dan goes back a half-century in time and as far south as Florida as he seeks to
    make sense of a very cold trail. Things heat up in a hurry, however, and Dan
    soon finds himself the target of a very much alive and resourceful enemy
    determined to keep the past buried. As he tries to keep himself alive while he
    untangles the mystery, Dan also attempts to cope with the many changes his
    hometown has endured. He meets old friends, makes new ones, and with their help
    uncovers the sordid truth behind murders old and new.
    The Same . . . Only Different
  • The Reckoners
    by Durgin, Doranna

    1 Underestimate an angry spirit only if you want to become one. - Rhonda Rose
    Here, little ghosties . . . - Lisa McGarrity Lisa McGarrity eased into the
    brand-spankin'' -new patio home in northern Albuquerque. The ultimate in desert
    chic, still unfurnished and unoccupied . . . she could almost hear her breath
    echo. It also steam. Albuquerque summer night''s heat, and her breath steamed.
    Never a good sign. From within the house, something went plop. There was a gooey
    quality to that sound. Not a sound the average person should be familiar with.
    And since when have you ever been average? Never. Not since Rhonda Rose found
    her. Not since she''d realized she had an inside track on things dead and things
    dying and things that shouldn''t have been there at all. Or that she had the
    responsibility to protect not only the living, but much of the once-living and
    even the never-living. Once upon a time, Rhonda Rose had opened the door to her
    power . . . and taken away her innocence, all in one fell swoop. Once upon a
    time. And now . . .' "I''m getting out," she said over her shoulder. Behind her,
    Lucia Reyes quite sensibly stood just outside the entry of the fancy new home,
    her flashlight bouncing off the high ceiling. In this business, unexpected
    problems often came from above, and Lucia had been on Lisa McGarrity''s team
    long enough to learn that lesson well. Lucia was slender and leggy and gifted
    with exquisite angles beneath Hispanic features, a tidy J-Lo ass, and the
    generous budget to clothe, adorn, and otherwise showcase her attributes. She
    said, "If you''re getting out, you''re going in the wrong direction." She tossed
    back her hair, a naturally haughty gesture, as she glanced meaningfully at the
    doorway. Lisa-Garrie to her reckoner team-raised a self-conscious hand to her
    own hair: dark nut brown streaked with electric blue, short and spiky. Not bad,
    actually, if only those spikes had come from styling instead of her lamentable
    habit of clutching her hair. Inside the house, something else went plop. It
    sounded larger than the first. Lucia said, "Still the wrong direction for
    getting out." "After this." Garrie shot her a quick scowl, extending her
    awareness into the empty house along with her flashlight beam. Penny-ante
    reckoner work-new haunting on new construction. Didn''t mean they could take it
    for granted. "Don''t tell me you didn''t see it coming. This is the most
    exciting gig we''ve had for weeks, and that''s just because we''ve got our
    spooky flashlights." "Well," Lucia murmured, glancing around the spacious house,
    "it''s got the actual ghostie vibes going on. That''s a big step above knocking
    water pipes." "Right. Exactly why I''m getting out." Never mind the twinge of
    guilt as she said it, or the familiar, starch voice of Rhonda Rose reminding her
    This is what you were born to do. But I''m not doing it, Rhonda Rose. I''m not
    doing it. Not really. Lucia was scary-good sometimes. Her tone dry with
    self-awareness, she asked, "And what are you going to do, walk away from
    yourself?" None of them could exactly walk away from their unusual skills,
    Garrie most of all. "Hey, chicas, c''mon." Drew Ely shadowed the doorway just
    behind Lucia, hopelessly geeky in spite of-or perhaps because of-his attempts to
    be oh-so-hip. Lank hair of an indeterminate color, eyes to match, complexion
    just getting over the whole becoming-a-man thing. Of late he''d been
    experimenting with the one-day stubble look, and it really wasn''t working for
    him. But he was a real wizard at reading the history of any given space. And
    he''d just saved Garrie from mustering a response to Lucia, so points for that.
    Cautiously, Garrie moved into the house, making room for Drew to enter with
    Quinn Rossiter on his heels. Garrie, head reckoner: trained by her own personal
    invisible friend from childhood to communicate and influence spirits all of
    natures. Lucia, their spiritual empath. Drew, their historian. And Quinn, their
    memory-gifted researcher, tall and broad-shouldered, eyes a deep clear blue,
    hair a crisp blond that always fell naturally into whatever style he''d chosen.
    The three of them were the support team to Garrie''s reckoner muscle, giving her
    the information she needed to work fast and clean. Or not so clean. From out of
    thin air, a glob of sticky, stinky ghost poop landed on Garrie''s cheek. "Gah,"
    she said, and swiped it off, flinging it away with the casual skill of long
    practice. Since her midteens, she''d been doing this. And with Rhonda Rose at
    her side, most of it had been a lot more exciting than . . . Ghost poop.
    "Someone''s mad," Lucia said. "Please don''t tell me you had to use your
    superpowers to figure that out." Garrie moved cautiously into the great
    room-beamed ceiling far above, corner fireplace way down there somewhere,
    arching rounded doorways to bedrooms, open into the kitchen. If there was ghost
    poop, there was anger. "This place is phat," Drew decided, just behind the curve
    in cool factor as usual. "I bet you could get a deal on it after we clear it."
    Garrie didn''t answer. She had her own perfectly good condo, smack in the middle
    of the city''s university area. Everything she could possibly want within
    walking distance and plenty of eccentric, benign spirits to keep her company.
    "You guys pulling in any clues?" "The whole angry thing," Lucia offered. Drew
    shook his head. "The history is muddled to the max." Garrie could understand
    that. "All this new construction material, pulled in from all over the place."
    She took a deep breath, inhaling that peculiar scent of disgruntled spirits that
    only she could perceive. "I know you''re here," she said out loud, words to
    focus the unspoken communication she broadcast to the house. "Get real, everyone
    knows you''re here. Quit throwing spit-balls and let''s talk." The
    straightforward approach. Rarely successful, but always worth a try. This time
    it netted her a faint but definite spiritual glower, as though impotent pieces
    of power had mustered righteous offense. No more effective than being hit with
    pats of soft spiritual butter. "Ooh," she muttered. "Eeek." Quinn moved into the
    room, circling around and squinting at the walls-visualizing the structure,
    running his mind over all the possible connections and influences. "It''s not
    all new," he murmured, touching the textured wall paint. Somewhere in the house
    a door opened. The reckoners, as one, turned to look at Garrie. She shrugged.
    "Just supposed to be us." She thought this particular batch of spirits had
    thrown their drama quota into the ectoplasmic yuck, so that left something more
    earthly. But . . . "There''s way more than one," she realized out loud,
    distracted from the noise of the door. She felt it plainly enough, now that
    she''d puzzled it out-the weird fractured pieces, a kaleidoscope of
    personalities. All of them annoyed, but none of them truly powerful. Not
    dark-side entities, just disturbed echoes of those who had once lived in the
    flesh. They needed her help as much as the man who''d hired her. Down the hall,
    shadows in shadow . . . something moved. Yet a deeper layer of shadow, flashing
    along the wall. Quinn said, "I think-" and then stopped short at the screeching
    yowl that cut the night. Drew jumped, whirling, his flashlight painting wild,
    bobbing patterns of light across the walls and archways. "Shee-it!" "Toucheee,"
    Lucia murmured to Garrie. She could afford to be complacent. She was the one who
    always walked away without a single splot of ghost poop on her person. The only
    one. Garrie slanted her a silent cut the kid a break and reached down the hall,
    pushing out her bubble of awareness. Nothing. "Cat," Quinn said, matter-of-fact
    and preoccupied with his walls. And there it was. Loitering at the end of the
    hall, tail held high and undulating smugly enough that even Garrie, the noncat
    person, could see its self-satisfaction. "Who let it in?" Silence from her team.
    Loud silence. Until a voice not at all familiar to any of them said, "I did."
    They all startled. Ghosts didn''t vocalize. The occasional whispery noise, the
    faintest of moans . . . not deep, strong voices. And they didn''t appear at the
    end of the hallway, solid and tall in the shadows. The cat ran to the new
    arrival, wound briefly between his ankles, and faded away into a corner. Garrie
    didn''t hesitate-she lifted her flashlight so the beam shone directly on the
    man''s face. He can''t be for real. Not with a black leather duster over a shirt
    with leather panels and crisscrossed lacings, pants with front panel styling
    that might have been stylish a hundred years ago, calf-high boots much scuffed
    and secured by a row of outside buckles. But he was also far too solid to have
    come with this particular house. And far too reactive to the flashlight-a pained
    squint, a futile effort to fend off the light with one hand. Of course he had
    half-finger gloves to complete the picture. Of course he had thick straight hair
    past his shoulders, shorter front strands
    The Reckoners
  • Dreaming the Bull
    by Scott, Manda

    In AD 60, Boudica, war leader of the Eceni, led her people in a final bloody
    revolt against the occupying armies of Rome; the culmination of nearly twenty
    years of resistance against an occupying force that sought to crush a vibrant,
    complex civilisation and replace it with the laws, taxes and slavery of the
    Roman Empire. DREAMING THE BULL continues the story of Breaca, acclaimed as
    bringer of victory to her people, and her half-brother, B n, now an officer in
    the Roman cavalry. Each stands on either side in a brutal war of attrition
    between the occupying army and the defeated tribes, each determined to see the
    other dead. Caught in the middle are Cunomar and Graine, son and daughter to two
    of the greatest warriors their world has ever seen. While in the heart of Rome,
    the Emperor Claudius and his implacable wife hold lives in their hands. This is
    a heart-stopping story of war and of peace; of love, passion and betrayal; of
    druids and warring gods, where each life is sacred and each death even more so;
    and where Breaca and Ban learn the terrible distances they must travel to fulfil
    their own destinies.
    Dreaming the Bull
  • The Best American Erotica 2007
    by Anonymous

    Introduction Envy the young. Their beauty, their incomparable strength, cannot
    be bottled, as dearly as their elders try to squeeze a facsimile out of a jar or
    a needle. Youth -- that petal before it uncurls, that curious morning dew --
    what enormous potential. Anything is possible because nothing has been
    tried.Envythem? We want to gobble them up -- their very presence is an
    incitement, a rebuke to death. They are defiant. But turn over the card. Power
    comes only with age, which elders have in spades. You can't drive, you can't
    hold the keys, and you can't lay claim until you grow the fuck up. The very
    words "experienced lover" describe a life lived, adventures drawn upon. Beauty
    and strength may open doors, but it's only wisdom that tells you how to cross
    the threshold. When I was young, the phrase "generation gap" came into vogue. So
    did the thrilling insult of my old comrade Jack Weinberg: "Never trust anyone
    over thirty." Those same baby boomers are rather testy these days, and trust no
    one. It's coming out in their erotica, as well as their children's. The '60s
    generation, more than any before it, is outraged at the prospect of mortality
    and determined to beat it. No Olympian gods were ever so vain. They look at
    their offspring and feel a combination of possession, fury, and guilt. Love?
    Sure, of course. But I'm talking about the darker side of Zeus's parental ego,
    which among the boomer set is a constant battle with narcissism. I speak from
    the cusp of boom/GenX. I've wobbled on both sides. I look at my daughter, and
    her beauty and vitality are so vivid I could faint. I want to lock her up -- no,
    I mean, I want to empower her. Actually, no, I want to scare her shitless. Oh,
    let's be honest: I'm scared shitless. My generation has melted the polar ice
    caps, looted the bank, and my inheritance to her is what? I can remember myself
    at sixteen so clearly. I wanted to know everything. I wanted to fuck everyone,
    especially the interesting, self-possessed grown-up types. I had one girlfriend,
    similarly inclined, who became lovers with the an older New Left patriarch. The
    fellow was twice her age, with thinning hair, and I was skeptical. She shushed
    me. "He's great," she said. "I can wake him up in the middle of the night and
    ask any question, and he will always know the answer." Her thirst for knowledge
    wasn't what impressed me. It was "the middle of the night" that was so seductive
    -- those witching hours when only babies slumber. When was the moment when our
    youth become aware of their charms, as well as their desperation? They seem
    younger now, although that could just be my mother talking. But look at our
    twenty-first-century culture. Every teenager knows the time to launch a career
    as a porn star is in the weeks following high school graduation. Celebrity
    journalism shows us that Hercules and Aphrodite will both be toppled in their
    early twenties without massive intervention. It's no wonder the commodification
    of good looks and muscles has wrought an erotic backlash. Virginity.
    Authenticity. The natural pearl. These are what are idealized today, as well as
    commercialized beyond all recognition. Fake sex -- titillation -- is for sale;
    real sex is elusive and underground. Take this state of affairs, couple it with
    a pox of unprecedented meddling in people's personal lives by the religious
    right, and the result is a toxic brew. Privacy, freedom, and nature are gasping
    for breath. Hypocrites alone have something to crow about. In my fifteen years
    of editing BAE, I have never seen such a yowling, lustful, spitting breach
    between young and old. Of course, such observations are taboo. Lower your voice!
    Young people aren't supposed to have a sexual bone in their bodies, right? And
    their elders, if they are immune to beauty and make all the rules, should be
    able to keep it in their pants. What a sq
    The Best American Erotica 2007
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